“Now I am Dead”: Anthropological Encounters with the Other

Now I am Dead (2018) dir. by Philipp Bergmann

(Please note change of date to Wednesday 04 December 2019 at 5:30pm from Tuesday 03 December)

“If anthropology is founded on the violence of speaking for others,” anthropologist Isabel Bredenbröker asks in the thought-provoking short film Now I am Dead (2018), “then how can I relate to this?”

Bredenbröker and film director Philipp Bergmann had planned an artistic video installation to explore the nature of the ethnographic encounter through the lens of her research on death in a small town in Ghana. But in the midst of filming, Isabel’s grandfather dies in Germany. Asking the people she encounters for advice about how to react to the death of a far-away family member whilst shooting a film on death in West Africa, the perspective of the foreign researcher is tragicomically inverted and incorporated into a local perspective. The distinctions between the other culture and one’s own, between the Other and the Self get blurred, just as the threshold between life and death becomes something that can be experienced in a playful way.

“This is absurd,” Bredenbröker declares, “but in its absurdity, it makes perfect sense.”

About the presenter: Isabel Bredenbröker is a PhD candidate in the Research Training Group of Value and Equivalence at Goethe University, Frankfurt. Trained as an anthropologist, her research considers the material and economic aspects of death in the Volta Region of Ghana.

Coinciding with the annual conference of the Australian Anthropological Association, the Freilich Project is pleased to host the screening of this unique short film, and a discussion on the perennial challenges of ethical encounters between individuals and cultures in social scientific research.

The film screening and discussion is free and open to all, and will be followed by light refreshments.

Please register for catering purposes.

Updated:  7 November 2019/Responsible Officer:  Freilich Project/Page Contact:  Herbert & Valmae Freilich Project